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China: A Century of Revolution


3 episodes, 120 minutes each
Source: CD Universe

This first-hand look at China's tumultuous history examines the country's social, political, and cultural upheaval through eyewitness accounts, archival film footage, and commentary.

  1. Part One: China in Revolution, 1911-1949 recounts the 38 years during which China was transformed from a centuries-old empire into the world's largest Communist state.

  2. Part Two: The Mao Years, 1949-1976 covers advent of Communist Party rule in China and the attempts by Mao Zedung to modernize China, which resulted in famine, the repression of individual freedoms, and in later years, the advent of limited capitalism. It includes interviews with Chinese citizens who comment on their individual experiences.

  3. Part Three: Born Under the Red Flag, 1976-1997 examines the years following the death of Mao Zedung. Under Deng Xiaoping's leadership, China witnessed sweeping economic and social changes, but under the firm control of the Communist party. This episode chronicles the growing student movements and party crackdown at Tiananmen Square as individuals challenged the meaning and value of communism in China.

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Red Scarf Girl

A child's nightmare unfolds in Ji-li Jiang's chronicle of the excesses of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China in the late 1960s.

Genocide & Mass Violence

Internal Strife in China

China in the 1920s was a new republic confronting great challenges—economic, political, and social. One of the most devastating was the early 1920s North China famine. Because this region of China was densely populated, the effects of this crisis affected millions. Triggered by a severe drought, the famine killed crops and devastated the livelihood of farmers in the northern plains of China. But dying crops was only one consequence. Thousands fled the area; others sold children into slavery, and upward of half a million people died. The areas decimated were largely governed by warlords, which further aggravated the situation since they used the crisis for their own political and economic gain.


Chinese Communist Party

The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party included, from right, Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Zhou Enlai, and Qin Bangxian, seen here after the Long March in 1936.

Genocide & Mass Violence

First Decades of the First Republic: 1911-1931

The Boxer Rebellion, and the repression of the Hundred Days’ Reform by Empress Dowager Cixi, ignited a more far-reaching, radical, and revolutionary approach to modernizing China. One prominent leader who emerged calling for revolution was Sun Yat-sen. Sun’s early years followed the path of many Chinese who escaped the country’s poverty and sought a better life by living abroad. In 1879, at the age of 13, Sun was sent by his father to live with his older brother, Sun Mei, in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Sun Mei was a successful rancher and entrepreneur, and Sun Yat-sen worked on his brother’s farms while receiving his first formal education at an Anglican missionary school called Lolani.

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